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Cool Jobs: FBI cop patrols on bike
Tuesday - 7/13/2010, 10:08am EDT
Federal News Radio
When Michael Arnold goes out for a bicycle ride, he doesn't just spin his wheels.
That's because he's a member of the FBI Police Mountain Bike Patrol Team at the Bureau's headquarters and Washington field office.
Corporal Arnold is part of Federal News Radio's week-long special series, Cool Jobs in Government.
He says he was attracted to the post because of his love of the outdoors.
"Riding the mountain bike, you know, this is an opportunity for me to get outside and I can still serve the Bureau in a fascinating and exciting way. Just the general freedom of being outside on the bicycle, it really appeals to me."
It's a good thing Arnold enjoys being active, because bicycle policing is demanding work.
"You have to be able to carry yourself well, because, if you're responding on the mountain bike, your body's doing all the work, so you want to be able… to handle the situation," Arnold says.
Which is why officers who want to be on mountain bikes must first pass a 40-hour training class complete with cone courses and a 26-mile, timed distance ride.
And Arnold says officers do the job carrying a full duty belt and body armor. Some "diehards" even ride in rain, snow, and extreme temperatures.
The advantage of riding the bike, Arnold says, is increased access to the public.
"You're pretty much side-to-side with the people on the street and they will ask you questions, they'll ask about the bike, they'll as about the uniform, they'll ask about the police force in general and I think it makes them a little bit more comfortable."
He says it does occasionally "catch people off-guard," but most enjoy the opportunity to interact.
"It really personalizes the job and it kind of tones down the police aura," Arnold says.
And he says that personal connection is one of his favorite things about the job.
"For that split-second, you kind of feel as though you know this person and it's just the general community policing. It definitely embodies it and it brings it home."
Stay tuned all week for the latest in Federal News Radio's Cool Jobs in Government series. Read about all of the featured jobs by clicking here.
See the entire Cool Jobs Photo Gallery by clicking here.
Rachel Stevens is an intern with Federal News Radio.
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